Broken Strings

This evening I was tuning my acoustic/electric guitar and had the strong anticipation to write and record some music. As I began to drop my tuning down from a standard to a much lower tone, my sixth string broke. If that’s happened to you, you know that emotion.

Breaking a string takes you on an emotional trip. You’re shocked, disappointed and angrily miffed by the whole ordeal; above all, you feel like your plans have failed and you now sit in a rut.

Our sobriety can be like an instrument that requires tuning.


Of course, my brain starts to draw artistic philosophies and I wonder what a broken string can represent. A broken goal? A broken promise? A slip, or failed run at sobriety? No matter the correlation, things have changed and there is a moment to process and reevaluate the situation. So, in keeping with the same thread of this blog, I will focus on sobriety.

Our sobriety can be like an instrument that requires tuning. To some, it may be a simple ukulele with four strings and few frets. Or it could be a giant harp that needs constant and dauntingly detailed tuning with gentle surroundings. Whatever the instrument, whatever the tuning, there is specificity for individual care.

My plans to write and record were disrupted this evening and I was left with a choice. Make the repair and tune the rest of the strings or give up on the idea and abandon. I chose to do the former. If, or when, there is a disruption in one’s endeavor of staying sober you to are left with a choice: quit or continue.

It’s increasingly difficult to continue when a relapse affects more than just the individual. If family or loved ones are involved, it’s like the other strings on the instrument being affected; the tune becomes off-key. It’s noticeably different than it was. An unexpected change occurred and something needs to be addressed.

The broken string needs to be addressed in order to have the original and intended sound be produced. Besides the one string breaking, there is extra discouragement when you realize that every other string’s sound has been affected. As mentioned above, when we break a single string in our sobriety, every other facet of our sobriety may become violently out of tune to some degree.

it’s important to help pick them (the addict) up without enabling the poor behaviors that placed them there.


Breaking a string in sobriety is a hard upset for everyone involved. A person will likely blame and hate themselves through every act of this ugly play. I have seen it and have been through the process of hacking myself into bits about failing. It’s hard to understand this about addicts, but it’s important to help pick them up without enabling the poor behaviors that placed them there. And if the addict is a “no matter what” person to you, do your all to understand with the knowledge you have and be willing to help.

A process of tasks begins for the change-motivated addict, the process of adding anew the string and tuning things up. Thus begins the process of restringing and tuning the instrument that is sobriety. It’s a process, but anything is a process that requires precision. It is also necessary to keep in mind that almost any outside, or inside, influence/element can enact a change; changes that require fine-tuning. Change that holds the potential to disrupt the precision.

Whether it is writing music or keeping goals intact in sobriety, pressing forward (with the original idea/task after a disruption) will allow healing. Confirmation of the hard work will be the prize. Though it may take some unwanted length of time, the music at the end will be the theme song (or ballad) to your success.

Keep the instrument of sobriety strung and in tune this year. Set goals for yourself and keep yourself honest in the program you subscribe to.

Happy New Year.

Be good!

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